I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. And even that sentence is an understatement.
The knowledge that the book series has finally ended did not sink in immediately because there were still films yet to see. However, when HPDH Part 2 drew closer, I suddenly came to realize that I may be indeed saying goodbye. So, the announcement of Pottermore was definitely an unexpected and yet, gratifying surprise. And again, let me reiterate that surprise may be an understatement.
It was something to look forward to. I was excited as every Harry Potter fan must have been excited. After shedding tears in HPDH Part 2, I was now looking forward to the Pottermore website. I did not want to wait until October. I wanted it right then and there on July 31st. But the thought of just one million fans can get an early access was definitely worrisome. What are my chances in a million? Just one.
July 31st fell on a Sunday. Good to know because I work on a graveyard shift from Mondays to Fridays so my chances are limited to weekends. Secondly, I didn’t know what timezome the site will announce how those lucky million can get their access. I was wide awake on July 30th and been on the internet since 10PM. I’ve checked the time difference between my timezone PHT and the timezones in London (BST) and in US (EST). I was thinking 12MN in BST is 7AM in my clock and 12MN in US is 12NN in my time. I decided to grab some sleep while I waited for 7AM. And I was one of those innumerable number of people who waited for hours staring at a screen opened to the Pottermore website. At first none of us could access the site and the message “Due to overwhelming demand, you cannot access Pottermore right now. Please be patient whilst we try to connect you” is all we can see. It refreshes every 15 seconds. After 2 hours of waiting, finally I was able to get into the site but the message that’s been there for months is the same message that greeted me. “Probably it’s on Eastern Standard Time,” I thought.
During that time of endless waiting, I had been keeping tabs on any news through my Twitter account. I have 2 windows open – one for my regular tweets and another for tweets that has “pottermore” in it. I’ve read probably thousands of tweets that expressed excitement and frustration.
The announcement was finally made at 4AM BST, which was 11AM on my clock. It said that we have 7 days to find the Magical Quill and explained how it will work. I immediately prepared a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which is in PDF Form. I figured it will be easier to use the CTRL+F function if the question bordered on a detail I may not remember. When 12NN arrived which is midnight in the US, there was still no clue. The announcement said that it will not disclose the time the clue will be posted. I was getting sleepy. Sunday is supposed to be my rest and relaxation from work. I was tired and hungry but I dare not remove myself in front of my computer. I was starting to doubt if I could get a spot. I never won anything in my life. And most of the time, even if I knew the answer, I usually lose on trivia games or scavenger hunts simply because I’m too slow to voice out my answer.
I gave up on 3AM. I decided to sleep. But for some unforeseen reason, my Mother woke me up around 4PM to have a snack – she bought takeout food from McDonald’s for me. After that snack, I decided to go back to sleep but I checked my cell phone. My phone is subscribed to Twitter and there I saw Hypable’s announcement that the clue is up. I immediately grabbed by laptop and reconnected to the Internet. I was thinking, if only I waited a little more. It was already 4:30. I wanted to cry. What if I’m too late?
It took me another 15 minutes to finally get into the Pottermore website and lo and behold, the clue is still up.
The clue was “How many breeds of owl are featured on the Eeylops Emporium sign? Multiply this number by 49.” Upon reading the clue, I opened my PDF copy of Harry Potter and searched for “Eeylops” and there were 5 species of owls. I even counted it twice just to be sure.
I was led to Sony’s website and I thought the page took forever to load. I was sure I’m gonna lose my sanity if I miss my chance because I’ll be at work all throughout the week and won’t have another chance like this. And I will regret not waiting just another hour after waiting for 8 hours.
Finally, I was able to catch the Magical Quill and register my information: birth date, location, email address, password, and survey if I read all books and/or watched all films. Of course, it’s ALL to all of it! When I saw the Congratulations and my name along with Harry, I was ecstatic. Then, I chose my username – which is really pretty and I couldn’t have thought of better. A few minutes after I registered, the Pottermore website announced that the Day 1 Registration is closed.
However, when I checked my email – there was no confirmation letter for me to be able to validate my account. I checked Twitter and saw Andrew Sims (from MuggleCast) saying he got his letter after about half an hour. Other people are also saying they got theirs after half an hour or so. Apparently, I’m not the only one but at the same time I was worried because some got theirs immediately after. So I waited for 30 minutes which turned to 45 minutes, then an hour. At 3 hours, I gave up hope. The registration is closed as well. Nothing I could do.
My heart broke and I went to bed and slept for several hours. On Monday, August 1st, I woke up around 12NN, I think. I decided to open my Facebook account and for some reason opened my Yahoo mail. I guess I was still hoping my email just got lost in transit. That maybe the owl had too many letters to deliver. And I was right. It was there!
It arrived 5:35AM on August 1st PHT. I stared at it for like 2 minutes before I prodded myself to click on the validation link. I think everything was slow motion. I clicked on the link and was directed to the Pottermore sign-in page. I entered my password. And the most beautiful words I’ve ever read are there.
I swear I just stared on the congratulatory message for minutes. I could not take my eyes off it. I didn’t even want to move from that place until I receive the Welcome email. It took a lot of willpower before I click on Sign Out and then signed in again just to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. And I wasn’t.